Indie firm Offline shutters operations

Co. unable to raise capital due to economic climate, Kessler sez

Adding to the list of casualties in Gotham’s specialty world, Offline Entertainment Group shuttered its operations Friday.

In a statement Friday, Henri Kessler, co-chairman and founder of the indie producer and distrib, said: “The current economic climate has made it impossible for Offline Entertainment Group to raise additional capital for its production operations.”

But others have suggested that Offline had been having difficulty meeting financial commitments for some time.

Offline’s 20 employees have been left jobless.

Started in 1995, Offline briefly gained distinction when it produced the gritty, Marc Levin-helmed pic “Slam.” Film won the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Award and Cannes’ Camera D’Or Award; it was acquired by Trimark for $2.5 million.

But an acquisitions and distribution arm, announced last fall, failed to yield significant releases and an attempt to link with a high-tech company this year sputtered out. Shingle intended to solo distribute the Academy Award-nominated French pic, Agnes Jaoui’s “The Taste of Others” and South Korean writer and director Jang Sun-Woo’s “Lies.” In both cases, a second party distribution arrangement failed to gain much distinction for either pic.

Among company’s producing credits are the HBO American Undercover docs “Thug Life” and “Execution Machine”; a film version of Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight Los Angeles”; and the pilot for the USA Network series, “”The Huntress.”

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